[wilhelmtux-discussion] Recherchetechniken

Claude Almansi claude.almansi at bluewin.ch
Mon Feb 24 13:14:35 CET 2003

Hi Manfred,

Thanks. I've just joined a European Education portal, where University
professors are being as behind as the school teachers you describe, not
realising their students are online and grumbling against "old Europe",
in uncanny convergence with Rumsfeld.

A few years ago, an English teacher complained to me. Herself, she
wouldn't touch the Internet with a barge pole, but she'd asked her
students to use it for research in order to write a biography of Oscar
Wilde. She was Incredibly pissed off because one group produced a
print-out of a web page, complete of URL. I tried to explain that the
kids had been honest, at least, that they could have copy-pasted the
stuff onto a text document - and that the task was the wrong one: I
mean, in the ecology of info, it doesn't make sense to ask people to
re-do something that has already been done well.

About ready-made documents: that's the great argument of teachers
against the internet, because they say there are countless sources
students can use. They haven't yet wised up to the fact that students
find them by using a search engine, and that they (the teachers) can use
a search engine to spot plagiarism. Of course, students can also use
e-mail to swob not-on-line material, but that's just an extension of
what students have always done, even without "ICT".

Apparently, teachers at a high school here are angry because an
association of ex students have been putting former tests, with their
own answers, on their website. Allegedly, they think that this prevents
them from re-using old tests with new students. I'm 51 and we were doing
that in hand-passed photocopies 35 years ago. "Apparently" and
"Allegedly" because I haven't spoken with my pissed-off ex-colleagues,
and only have an ex-student's version, but he is usually trustworthy.

Research method is indeed a very important issue. I've taken a couple of
internet courses as a teacher. They invariably were on the URL list
line, instead on the how to research line. I politely declined to do a
second year of the "Internet for Latin teachers" one (I wanted the
...for modern languages" one to start with, but there were not enough
applicants, hence the Latin choics). 

During the second year of the course, though, G., a colleague asked me
if I could come to her place nand explain a few things she had not
understood in recent sessions. Basicaly, she wanted to find pictures of
Hephaistus, the Greek semi-god. "I tried with the site L. told us was
the best for iconography, but drew a blank", she said. L. has 2 hts:
Latin and Informatics Expert.  She started scrolling down L's bookmark
list, generously copied on floppies for participants. "If you remember
the name of the site, why don't you use "search"", I asked. "What's
that?" she asked. I showed her. We entered the L.-guaranteed iconography
site, tried the search engine with various possible spellings of
Hephaistus, nothing. "Either the inner search engine is on the blink or
they have nothing on Hephaistus - let's try a big one." Jupiter drew a
lot of thumbnails. "OK, so they have nothing on H. - let's go search," I
said "But L. said this was the best site..." she objected. I countered
that L. didn't have a monopoly on Internet research. One of the first
pages that came up was from the Perseus project, a good reference for
classical studies. L. had not told them about Perseus. 

G. was thrilled with the page. She started scribbling the lengthy URL on
a note-pad. "What the hell are you doing? Bookmark it!" I said. "How?"
she asked. I showed her, and how to make folders by theme. 15 bleeding
months into the goddam course, and the teachers hadn't been shown how to
use "Find" and "Bookmark".

Sure, teachers taking such courses are at fault for not exposing the
"experts". On the other hand, experts make sure that they remain in awe
of tech and in need of help by tampering with settings. In schools, help
menus on programs often don't work. 

Even at "communication" faculties, students are not shown the basics of
university resarch on the internet, how to evaluate a site, how to take
notes using copy-paste as you browse. The problem is that their
professors have had non-e academic research experience and transfered
this experience to internet research. I still remember my first internet
search. A student next to me had given me the URL for Altavista. My
first thought was "25 years of know-how acquired in libraries down the
drain". The second one, however, was: "how exciting!"

Confronted with the same experience, some teachers stop at the first one
and feel threatened and try to exclude the internet. My daughter, not a
geek at all but a sensible girl, is completing her B.A. dissertation on
a contemporary Russian playwright. Much of her material she found
online, but her professor won't accept a URL in a bibliography. As the
publications she uses are online versions of paper ones, she gives the
reference for the paper ones, which she couldn't possibly access in
reasonable time. She could get away with plagiarism, thanks to her
professor's Luddism. She happens not to want to.

Those who have reached the second, "how exciting" stage, haven't wised
up to the fact that their students don't have a former experience to
transpose. So we get these students who are technically competent but,
as you say, have no systematic research method. At the communication
faculty in Lugano, they spend a whole year learning how to write in
html. Couldn't 5 hours be diverted to showing them these basic
principles for research? And 5 hours is ample.



-----Message d'origine-----
De : wilhelmtux-discussion-bounces at wilhelmtux.ch
[mailto:wilhelmtux-discussion-bounces at wilhelmtux.ch] De la part de
Manfred Morgner
Envoyé : lundi 24 février 2003 00:19
À : wilhelmtux-discussion at wilhelmtux.ch
Objet : [wilhelmtux-discussion] Recherchetechniken

Hallo Liste,

vor einigen Tagen gab es eine interessante Bemerkung auf dieser Liste.
wolle in Winterthur die PC's der Schulen Internetfähig machen.

Das ist prima - aber wozu?

Also - was will man in WEinterthur mit dem Internet an der Schule? Weiss

jemand näheres?

Ich hatte heute eine sehr interessante Diskussion mit einer
Es ging um Lehrinhalte, Nutzung des Internets und Hausaufgaben aus dem 
Internet. Wir waren uns ansich einig, dass das wichtigste, was man mit
Computer in der Schile machen kann, die Recherche ist..

In einer Biliothek mit Internetanschluss kann sie beobachten, dass die 
allerwenigsten besucher in der Lage sind, Informationen zu recherchieren
sie keinerlei Systematik an den Tag legen und die einfachsten Regeln des

Rechercheirens nicht beherrschen. Weder in den Kateikarten der
noch im Internet.

Ich bin auch schon sehr lang der Meinung, dass genau dies ein Thema für
Schule sein müsste. Ausserdem kommt noch ein Problem (also - für mich
ist es 
ein Witz) dazu:

Schüler recherchieren ihre Hausaufgaben zunehmend im Internet, wo man
schon vertig herunterladen kann. Die Schulen sehen das mit besorgnis und

wissen nicht wie sie das vermeiden sollen.

Das finde ich zum totlachen.

1) Die Schüler könenn es schon - die Lehrer nicht

2) Die Lehrer werden nichtmal mit dem fertig, was die Schüler ohne ihre

3) Scheinbar erkennen die Lehrer nicht, dass es Zeit wird, das Internet
gegeben zu betrachten und die Schule so umzugestalten (also selbst etwas
lernen) dass das Internet förderlich ist, statt hinderlich oder störend.

Also kurz, die Schüler haben derzeit die Spitze erreicht und die Lehrer 
fragen sich noch, ob man das verbieten oder ignorieren sollte, anstatt
allmämlich in Bewegung zu bringen.

Naja, eigentlich ist das nicht zum Lachen, das ist zu Weinen.


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